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Billy Joel returns to the recording studio with first new song in nearly 20 years

Billy Joel announced Monday that he is releasing his first new song in close to two decades.

The Grammy Award-winning, 74-year-old singer-songwriter's longtime label, Columbia Records, plans to drop "Turn the Lights Back On" on Feb. 1.

Joel teased the new song on social media with a short clip consisting of a simple chord progression played sedately on the piano.

It's been more than 30 years since Joel released his last pop album — River of Dreams -- in 1993. The final track, "Famous Last Words," alluded to Joel's desire to step away from the recording studio:

These are the last words I have to say
That's why it took so long to write
There will be other words some other day
But that's the story of my life

But the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer did go on to write songs for himself and undertake projects for others sporadically. Joel's 2007's hit "All My Life," reached Number One on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales chart.

Even though he has stayed away from the recording studio for so many years, Joel has continued to perform live regularly. He tours internationally and is scheduled to finish up a 10-year residency this summer at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Fans reacted to the news about the upcoming release with excitement on social media.

"BEYOND EXCITED FOR THIS!!!!" wrote fan Tanya Cironi on Joel's Facebook page. "I hoped one day we would see new music."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.
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